Episode 475 – Aussie Tech Heads Shownotes

posted in: Show Notes


One customer chews through 425GB of data in Telstra free-for-a day

The amount used is more than enough to download five seasons of Game of Thrones in high definition – four times over.

The data hungry customer, John from Rhodes in Sydney, told the Sydney Morning Herald, he downloaded all 25 seasons of the Discovery Channel’s How It’s Made and synced his entired Stream computer game library – 172 games in total – to a portable hard drive

By midnight on Sunday customers had downloaded 1841 terabytes.

The data usage was the equivalent of around 2.3 million movies, or 5.1 million episodes of Game of Thrones, or 23 million downloads of Kanye’s new The Life of Pablo album, according to a blog post by Telstra’s group managing director of networks Mike Wright.

“Over the course of the day we had twice as much traffic as we would normally see on a Sunday (or any day),” Mr Wright said

A screenshot of a speed test John carried out during the free data day. (supplied)

Ransomware offers live chat ‘help’

According to a report from BleepingComputer, PadCrypt is the first ransomware to offer a live support chat feature for victims seeking online assistance with paying their ransom and decrypting locked files.

PadCrypt is also the first ransomware program to provide victims with a software uninstaller, which is downloaded along with the malicious encryption code at the time of infection.

PadCrypt is distributed via “spam that contains a link to a zip archive that contains what appears to be a PDF file,” BleepingComputer wrote. But the supposed PDF file is actually an executable that downloads malware from cybercriminals’ command-and-control servers. These C&C servers were disabled following their discovery

The Hollywood Presbyterian Medical Center has been dealing with a ransomware infection for the last few days, checking backups, and then concluding that paying the ransom was probably the easiest way out.

In total, the hospital paid 40 Bitcoins (around $17,000) to anonymous hackers to reclaim access to its files, a settlement CEO Allen Stefanek said was “the quickest and most efficient way to restore our systems and administrative functions”.

Hospital Pays $17,000 Ransom to Reclaim Its Files

1Tbps: researchers break broadband speed record

The researchers from UCL’s Optical Networks Group had achieved a rate of 1.125 Tb/s as part of research on the capacity limits of optical transmission systems. The research was designed to address the growing demand for fast data rates.

Dr Robert Maher, said: “While current state-of-the-art commercial optical transmission systems are capable of receiving single channel data rates of up to 100 gigabits per second (Gb/s), we are working with sophisticated equipment in our lab to design the next generation core networking and communications systems that can handle data signals at rates in excess of 1 terabit per second (Tb/s).

Toshiba Australia recalls PC batteries due to fire hazard

The recall dated 11 February involves 54 laptop models sold nationally at retail stores such as Harvey Norman, Good Guys and JB Hi-Fi from 1 June 2011 until 30 September 2015.

“If the defect occurs, there is a risk of a fire or a burn hazard to consumers,” the company said in a statement.

All affected consumers have been advised to turn off their PCs and remove the batteries immediately and only use the computers with the AC adaptor until the batteries are replaced.

The company is also offering free replacement packs to consumers with defected batteries.

Toshiba is the second company after Panasonic this week to have issued a recall on its rechargeable batteries due to overheating and fire hazards.


Kogan Mobile unveils $9 unlimited plan

Kogan’s 3XL plan now offers 30 days of unlimited standard calls and texts across Australia plus 3GB of data for $8.95. The same plan was previously offered at $29.90 per month.

The 5XL plan comes with 30 days of unlimited standard national calls and texts and 5GB of data for $10.95. In October, 5XL was launched offered at $36.90 per month.

Both deals equate to a 70 percent discount and will be on until 31 March.

Kanye West album ‘pirated 500,000 times’ already

Kanye West’s latest album has already been illegally downloaded more than half a million times, estimates Torrent Freak.

The artist released The Life of Pablo on Jay-Z’s music streaming service Tidal two days ago.

Thousands of subscribers have complained that they have been unable to download the album, despite paying for it.

It is currently one of the most popular music downloads on The Pirate Bay.

RIAA chief executive Cary Sherman wrote last year that the approach is increasingly ineffective.

The result is a never-ending game that is both costly and increasingly pointless.”

The Pirate Bay chart

Kanye West wants $1 billion from Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg


Great-grandmother accused of Robert Redford film piracy

An 82-year-old woman accused of illegally pirating a Robert Redford film has received a £600 demand.

Her daughter-in-law Sheila Drew said the claims were “absurd” as Mrs Drew did not know how to file share

It stated she could avoid legal action by accepting liability and paying a settlement of £600. It is the second letter the company has sent to her following initial correspondence in November 2015.

Mrs Drew said: “I’m upset to have been accused of something I didn’t do… how many other people has this happened to?”

Patricia Drew

Sir Paul McCartney creates music for Skype emojis

Sir Paul McCartney has composed music for a series of ‘audio emojis’ on Skype to celebrate Valentine’s Day.

The compositions – which are coupled with moving emoji designs – last just five seconds and can be sent to friends over the messaging platform for free.

The musician said he had at first considered the project a “strange proposition” but then changed his mind.

“I thought, you know what, why not? Something fun, and nice and new.”

Skype Love Mojis

Apple recalls faulty MacBook USB-C cables

Apple will swap out a “limited” number of USB-C cables sold with its MacBook laptops from June 2015 after discovering a fault.

Affected cables connected to a wall power adapter fail to properly charge the MacBook battery, Apple said.

MacBook owners worldwide, including Australia, who provided a valid mailing address when they registered their products will receive a new cable by the end of this month.

Others who are eligible for new USB-C cables are advised to make an appointment at the Genius Bar at their nearest Apple retail store, or contact an authorised service provider.

Customers who have paid for a replacement USB-C cable can get a refund from Apple.

Apple recalls faulty MacBook USB-C cables


Why You Should Care About Apple’s Fight With The FBI

  • The FBI asked Apple to provide a way (back door) of accessing an iPhone to help with the San Bernardino shooting/terrorist attack investigation but Apple has refused.

  • The iPhone was seized from one of the shooters.

  • The FBI has a warrant to search the phone & permission from the shooters employer as it was a work phone.

  • The example used to illustrate the issue was that a warrant does not give the FBI the right to force a safe manufacturer, found in a normal home search, to make a tool to open that & therefore every safe.

  • A second court order was obtained asking Apple to create a terrorist only version of IOS to help access the content of the phone & not a tool to crack regular IOS devices.

  • Phone in question is an older 5C.  If phone was iPhone 6 or later then this would not be possible due to extra security features.

  • The legal basis for requesting this assistance is the All Writs Act of 1789

  • Story continues to discuss wider ramifications if Apple was to comply & create what it calls a Master Key & this would create a precedent which could also affect Android phones should one of those be found by law enforcement in a similar situation.

Hard-coded password exposes up to 46,000 video surveillance DVRs to hacking


  • Up to 46,000 Internet-accessible digital video recorders (DVRs) vulnerable to hackers due to hardcoded password.

  • According to Risk Based Security (RBS), all the devices accept a hard-coded, unchangeable password for the highest-privileged user in their software — the root account.

  • Hardcoded passwords & hidden service accounts was common a decade or so ago.

  • Zhuhai RaySharp Technology, a Chinese manufacturer of video surveillance systems, including cameras and accompanying DVRs is the company behind this instance.

  • Web based scripts contained a routine to check if the user-supplied username was “root” and the password 519070.

  • Other brands affected include: König, Swann Communications, COP-USA, KGUARD Security, Defender (a brand of Circus World Displays) and LOREX Technology, a division of FLIR Systems.

  • Swann indicated that they were working on a patch.

  • Possible workaround if DVR has to be accessed via internet is to incorporate the use of a VPN.

Breakthrough enables downloads 50,000 times faster than ‘superfast’ broadband

  • British researchers simulated download speeds 50,000 times faster than ‘superfast’ 24 megabits per second (Mbps) broadband, breaking a world record.

  • The University College London team achieved speeds of 1.125 terabits per second

  • 45,000 times faster than the NBN target speed of 25Mbps.

  • The UCL team used 15 super-fast optical fibre channels and a single receiver & they applied coding techniques commonly used to compress signals over Wi-Fi, but not yet widely used in fibre communications.

  • The team is now testing the setup over longer distances to see how the speeds stack up in the real world

Hackers break into Ringo Starr’s Twitter account with scary-simple method

  • Starr’s account was compromised by a hacker operating under the username “af,”

  • The hacker says he gained access to an email account associated with Doug Brasch, senior director of digital marketing at Universal Music Group, who managed Starr’s Twitter account.

  • Using publicly available information, the hacker was able to reset the password on Brasch’s accounts and gain access to the Twitter accounts under his control via the me.com password reset function.

  • After accessing Brasch’s email account, the hacker simply reset Starr’s Twitter account password, changed the email associated with the account, and started tweeting.

Streaming service JB Hi-Fi Now to shut down

  • Retailer JB Hi-Fi’s music streaming service, JB Hi-Fi Now, will be shut down on 17 March 2016 after four years of operation.

  • Service had 12,000 subscribers across the country

  • Anyone that has a Now gift card can redeem its full value on in-store purchases instead.

  • “We remain passionate about music and will continue to offer Australia’s largest range of CDs and Vinyl through our 180 stores nationally and via our online site.”

  • Users who wish to export a list of their playlists can do log into the app and follow the instructions.

  • JB Hi-Fi Now is the latest service to shut down, with Deezer, Rdio and Telstra’s Mog services all closing in recent months.


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